By STEVEN VIERA
ABERDEEN — The township thinks a plan to build massive electrical transmission lines should go back to the drawing board.
At a meeting on Aug. 3, the Township Council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the construction of utility poles as part of Jersey Central Power & Light’s (JCP&L) proposed Monmouth County Reliability Project.
JCP&L’s plan calls for a 10-mile stretch of monopoles, which may reach heights of 210 feet, that would link an electrical substation in Aberdeen to another one in Red Bank by following the right-of-way along New Jersey Transit’s railroad tracks; JCP&L states this will improve service and satisfy increased electrical demand.
Other municipalities, including Red Bank and Middletown, have passed resolutions of their own expressing opposition to or concern about JCP&L’s plan. The Bayshore Conference of Mayors, which includes Aberdeen and 10 other towns, such as Hazlet and Keyport, has also come out against the proposal.
Residents Against Giant Electric (RAGE) has also been a vocal critic of the proposal.
Aberdeen’s resolution, which questions the need for JCP&L’s project, states that “less intrusive alternatives have not been given sufficient consideration” and “encourages JCP&L to more fully consider less detrimental means to increase the reliability of its transmission services.”
“At this point in time, JCP&L has said, although they haven’t shown us, that they have alternative plans. Not one elected official, or resident, or member of RAGE, to the best of my knowledge, has received that,” Mayor Fred Tagliarini said.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) expressed concerns with the proposal, including whether or not JCP&L had explored alternatives and if the proposal is truly necessary to improve electrical service.
“[JCP&L has] filed this application to have a separate subsidiary just for the transmission lines,” he said. “That makes me question whether they’re just building this in order to make money and then, ultimately, might just sell it off.”
According to Tagliarini, JCP&L will need to file its application to construct the transmission lines with the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) but has not yet done so.